Saving has never been an easy task for most American families, and in light of the recent financial hardships, it’s even more difficult. However, our economy desperately needs us to spend, to keep the cycle of business flowing. If we don’t purchase goods and services, businesses won’t be able to continue to pay employees, and the economy will just get worse.
This doesn’t mean that we should disregard caution and spend ourselves into debt. On the contrary, buying on credit if you are already struggling to pay your existing bills could be the tipping point for your personal budget. The best solution is to find the delicate balance between saving and spending where the economy is still be stimulated, but your personal reserves can also continue to grow.
If you have not yet cut up your credit cards, this is an excellent time to do so. Keep only one credit card intact for when you need to rent a car or book a hotel room, but leave it at home. This will keep you from being tempted with impulse shopping. You do not want to actually cancel the other credit card accounts, in order to preserve your credit rating, but you should definitely shred them.
The credit cards that you do want to cancel are those for specific stores. These types of credit card accounts nearly always charge the maximum percentage rate, regardless of your credit history. The one exception to the rule would be those store cards that offer 90 days or 12 months financing, ”same as cash.” If you participate in one of these promotions, always make sure you have paid the balance off in full before the deadline to avoid the accrued interest.